Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang defeated Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari in a play-off to win his maiden European Tour title at the UBS Hong Kong Open.
The 34-year-old missed a chance to win the tournament in normal time when his six-foot birdie putt on the 72nd green slipped past the edge of the hole. It meant he finished on a total of -15, tied with McIlroy and Molinari.
The Italian was eliminated at the first extra hole when he could only manage a par compared to birdies from the other two players. Lin’s birdie was remarkable – after hooking his tee shot he was forced to play his approach out of the trees over the water and a bunker. His shot not only found the green but also finished just feet from the pin.
On the second extra hole McIlroy went left from the tee and had to display his powers of recovery to find the green. But Lin then piled on the pressure from the middle of the fairway, firing his approach in to just a foot. When McIlroy’s birdie effort missed, the tournament was Lin’s.
“I’m still smiling,” said Lin. “This is my first European Tour win and my feelings cannot be described. Now I can re-assure myself that what I am doing is right.”
It was a second play-off defeat this year for 19-year-old McIlroy who also lost out to Jean-Francois Lucquin at the European Masters, but the youngster did improve his position in the Race to Dubai and felt pleased with his performance.
“To hit two threes in a play-off, you can’t beat that,” he said. “It was not meant to be but it still has been a great week for me. I couldn’t have done much more.”
It was another disappointing week for England’s Oliver Wilson. The man who’s finished runner-up five times in 2008 made three consecutive bogeys from the 15th hole to drop out of a share for the lead and finish back in a tie for sixth on a total of -12.
Also on -12 was 51-year-old Bernhard Langer. The veteran completed four rounds in the 60s to finish the week just three shots shy of the winning total.
UBS Hong Kong Open
Hong Kong GC, Hong Kong
Nov 20-23, purse €1,587,517, par 70
1 Lin Wen-tang (Tpe) 65 69 64 67 265 €327,384
T2 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 70 64 66 65 265 €170,610
T2 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 66 67 67 65 265 €170,610
T4 Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 69 67 64 67 267 €90,752
T4 Chawlit Plaphol (Tha) 66 66 70 65 267 €90,752
T6 David Gleeson (Aus) 72 65 65 66 268 €52,016
T6 Bernhard Langer (Ger) 69 67 63 69 268 €52,016
T6 Iain Steel (Mas) 68 68 66 66 268 €52,016
T6 Richard Sterne (RSA) 64 69 69 66 268 €52,016
T6 Oliver Wilson (Eng) 66 66 65 71 268 €52,016
Note: Players in bold signifies Titleist ball usage.
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